Section 31(1) is couched in mandatory terms. There can be no finality of Arbitral Award, except after it is signed, since signing of the Award gives legal effect and validity to it. The usage of the term ‘shall’ makes it a mandatory requirement. It is not merely a ministerial act, or an empty formality which can be dispensed with. Section 31(5) enjoins upon the Arbitrator/Tribunal to provide the signed copy of the Arbitral Award to the parties. The date on which Arbitral Award is provided to the parties is a crucial date under The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. It is from this date, the period of limitation for filing objections to the Award under Section 34 commences [Union of India v. Tecco Trichy Engineers & Contractors, (2005) 4 SCC 239; State of Maharashtra v. Ark Builders, (2011) 4 SCC 616; Anilkumar Jinabhai Patel v. Pravinchandra Jinabhai Patel, (2018) 15 SCC 178].
– Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra, Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd. v. M/s. Navigant Technologies Pvt. Ltd., [Civil Appeal No. 791 of 2021].